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Box Office Mojo


#1843

Yeah, it looks gash. Han Solo thrives on Harrison Ford’s charm, a prequel without Ford playing the character is a bad move I think.

I ended up checking football scores on my phone when the trailer was on, i suppose that is an indication of what I thought about it.

Rogue One was a chore for me, so I’ll be waiting for this to come on demand before I watch it and even then I don’t think I’ll be in a rush unless it gets rave reviews, which I can’t see happening.


#1844

It’s a hard movie to really make work. The big challenge is that, basically, whatever story they tell, we know it all turns out okay. Han, Chewbacca and Lando are all okay when they enter the main Star Wars story, and it certainly doesn’t seem like Han was a brooding figure with a tragic history when Luke meets him. I mean, if he did have some tragic regret in his past, he certainly didn’t dwell on it.

However, in the trailer, they have Chewie hanging off the edge of a train and about to be crushed against the side of a cliff. “Oh, gosh, I wonder if he makes it?”

I imagine Lord and Miller probably took more of a comedic approach in response to that. To make a film where it’s obvious the people making and in the movie know that the audience has likely seen all the Star Wars movies at least twice and they know nothing very consequential is gonna happen in this film. So, let’s have some fun!

While the producers were of the opinion that you have to treat it seriously to an extent or it risks becoming a spoof of the whole franchise… of course, if they didn’t want that in the first place, why hire the guys who made the LEGO Movie?


#1845

Infinity War has now overtaken Force Awakens. Looks like it has some decent legs. I’ll definitely be seeing it again this week. Deadpool should start putting the brakes on it soon though, but I’ve already arranged a double-header with my sister with Deadpool then Infinity War after so a few people may do that come the time.


#1846

No doubt this’ll be the highest Avengers film now, even with drop offs previous history says they’ll get around $200-250m in China which hasn’t opened yet. The question is how closely they’ll challenge Force Awakens.


#1847

I don’t think many people worry about that. There are lots of stories we know the endings of, historical true stories or remakes of fictional ones.

There are incidental characters to take the real risks.

The issue is; do people want to fill in the story gaps? They did with ‘Rogue One’, if they do with this then Disney will do fine.

The leaked stories said that they weren’t making a consistent film. It wasn’t that it was funny, it was that it was lurching all over the place.


#1848

The narrative is probably the closest to what would China may enjoy, too, of everything that Marvel has released so far. It’ll be interesting to see how they take to it.


#1849

So the estimates for the weekend have it at a 56% drop. Should put the final domestic total on pace for somewhere between $625-650 million. Internationally it’s already over $700 million without China. I expect China will lend at least $250 million if not closer to $300 million based on Ultron making about $240 million there. Right now $2 billion is still in play. Seems like it’ll be close right now. But who knows what happen in two weeks once Deadpool opens and sucks away some of the business.


#1850

Black Panther’s box office got a surge back up (to top 5, I think) on Avenger’s release. It is just possible that there could be three active box office movie from Marvel in play at the same time - depending if Panther has to be pulled at a certain point for home and digital sales, of course. I wonder, though. Films that were unexpectedly popular were sometimes “held over” for extended runs. These three? Maybe.


#1851

Warren Ellis posted a link to this article in the latest Orbital Operations:

This is Warren’s comments on the article:

Joe Russo, co-director of INFINITY WAR, from this piece:

“I think all of this — Netflix, Marvel, ‘Star Wars,’ this massive moment of disruption we’re in — is really a function of audiences craving new kinds of storytelling. I think we had a really nice run for 100 years of two-hour, two-dimensional storytelling, but I think over the next decade, decade-and-a-half, you’re going to see a radical shift in how stories are told.”

Wouldn’t it be interesting if this were true?

I mean, people are always testing these limits, on digital. People cutting up shows for Instagram (before IG introduced algo sorting that fucked up the timeline), people trying to make video for Snapchat, Weird YouTube instances like Poppy or, back in the day, iamamiwhoami.

We seem to now be entering a period of some further consolidation, though I hope to see more things like WeTransfer commissioning videos to play over downloads and the like. LOT 2046, mentioned above (again! I know!) released a “newspaper” with their last box, and, given their community-building on Twitch, I figure it’s only a matter of time before they start looking at storytelling in a broader sense.

I feel like the third dimension being alluded to in the above quote is time, not the 3D of VR or the deep layering of AR. INFINITY WAR is simply meaningless without the surround of a ten-year cone of events.

This isn’t INFINITY WAR I’m talking about again, though. This is about the suggestion that the broader audience is now trained for narrative continua, and a lot of people are going to try and do it now. But it cannot easily be done in the same way Marvel did it, and so consideration of the problem should lead to new approaches in storytelling.

“The advice would be to continue to look for new ways to tell stories, because I think the audience is open to it. There is traditionally a generational divide, but I think this new generation is going to advance storytelling in a way we haven’t seen in a long time because of the tech advancements in their lives and the way they are used to digesting content on YouTube and social media in much more compressed formats, more facile, fluid. And they like longterm emotional commitment, but there’s lots of ways to engender that that do not involve building out a universe.”

The obvious note on that last bit is that you can’t hothouse a cinematic universe. JUSTICE LEAGUE and THE MUMMY come to mind. Perhaps of interest is that both of these things have solutions. In DC’s case, these planned standalone takes on the DC properties that give up on a narrative continuum and just go “hey what if Martin Scorcese made a Joker movie” are a much more interesting proposition. In the case of THE MUMMY, the Dark Universe stuff is so early in its life that it can still angle off from the original construction into new territory.

The strange thing for me is, I was thinking about all this some weeks ago, and came up with a structure to actually (potentially) create a layered/shared universe from scratch. Which always makes me smile because it reminds me of that Philip K Dick speech HOW TO BUILD A UNIVERSE THAT DOESN’T FALL APART TWO DAYS LATER.

Also, let’s be clear: this is the co-director of one of the most successful commercial mainstream films of all time saying this.

(Yes, he also worked on COMMUNITY and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, but that’s… it’s still commercial mainstream. It’s not like he’s Guy Maddin or Shinya Tsukamoto here.)

(Now I want to see a full Guy Maddin cinematic universe)


#1852

I’m still failing to see this as the big watershed moment that some people seem convinced that it is. Continuous, episodic storytelling isn’t a new thing. Nor are branching stories where you can choose to follow the bits you want and ignore the bits that you don’t (see DC and Marvel comics for the last sixty years).

Franchises like the MCU and Star Wars are now applying that branching, continuous model on a scale that hasn’t been seen before (in monetary terms), but it very much feels like a natural evolution - with plenty of precursors - rather than a revolution in storytelling.

I’m not denying the achievement of Infinity War, but for me a lot of these opinion pieces boil down to “oh look, it turns out a lot of people were following this one same thing”.


#1853

There’s a little bit Disney narrative, a little bit Marvel movie Zombie at play here. That said, this is the gamble that paid off. And it was a gamble. Superhero fatigue could have sunk in, there were indications it was coming with lackluster results Thor, Ultron and Civil War. Even Dr Strange and Ant Man showed that audiences wouldn’t show up for every Marvel movie. Infinity War easily could have alienated mass markets and ended up looking like Justice League.

Of course the gamble worked, but I think it’s partly on the back of GotG2, Ragranok and Black Panther giving new life to Marvel. And that’s the watershed - that you now have universe movies rather than character movies. There’s lots of franchises trying to jump on (Warners sorta messing it up, Star Wars working within the Disney machine). With that it’s changing how to put together a programming slate. You don’t discuss 1 TV show, you discuss several. You don’t start with one movie franchise, you start with 2 or 3. Everything is looking to spin off. Even a property like Kingsman, decent hit but not a record breaker, is being looked into for sequels, Statesmen spin offs and so on. Every project will be looked at this way going forwards. Beyond just the comic stuff.

So it’s not simply the model, it’s the level of success that’s changing everything. I think it’s the most important movie since the Matrix (which changed movies with it’s success too - I guess Return of the King should be on the list too now that I think of it).


#1854

I agree, I think they clearly got a third life, and I would probably take it back to Dr. Strange, where they got their groove back a bit.

I think Civil War was too dark a turn (and in light of Infinity’s success its box office looks like an underperformer) and Dr. Strange and then the 2017 films were a course correction. It’s probably their best stretch of films, even better than the Avengers, IM3, Guardians, Winter Soldier stretch.


#1855

Civil War was probably too dark and it followed a too dark and ill advised BvS in a year that people really needed escapism as opposed to watching their favorite heroes beating each other to a bloody pulp. I didn’t even dislike Civil War and thought there was some decent stuff in BvS (pretty much anything not Batman, which isn’t even the popular opinion there probably), but they just weren’t fun movies to watch.


#1856

You know another big thing about those hero v hero movies? Kids hate them and don’t understand them. To me it’s actually worse than material that may tend on the scary/dark side as that’s tempered by the fantasy and usually fairly simple morality.

You sit with kids from 6-12 and discuss those two films and they don’t understand why the heroes are fighting each other and it’s bloody hard to explain (especially as even to the adult viewers a lot of the logic is stretched to make it work).

It has plagued Marvel comics for years persevering with it. They should look not to revisit it.


#1857

It all comes down to the target audience.

Making scarier movies, edgier movies, darker movies, more complicated movies; it all eliminates sections of the public.

And yet, if studios (not just Marvel) make generic product they get criticised for sanitisation and for not taking any risks.

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, they just get to choose what they get damned for.


#1858

That depends on who you mean by “target audience”. BLACK PANTHER and WONDER WOMAN both exceeded expectations at the box office, primarily (IMHO) because they had appeal beyond the typical target audience for blockbuster action films.


#1859

I mean the actual definition of the term;

When a studio lines up $200m+ in expenditure on a film they have a target audience, broken down by age and sex, for whom the film is intended and at whom it is carefully aimed.

If it breaks out of that demographic that’s great, but the calculation of whether to make the movie or not depends on that initial target.

So Marvel (while hoping to making billions every time) will have an idea of who they expect to see their films, pay for the experience, and ensure a profit for the studio.

If part of Marvel’s target audience is young children then making films they don’t like is a bad idea.

If they can afford to lose those ticket sales then they can make films for an older age range. ‘Infinity War’ is a PG-13 in the USA, so I think they’ve made that choice, although I don’t think it’s a necessary one. They could make lighter movies, but they’ve chosen not to. Even their funnier films (like Ragnarok) are PG-13.


#1860

That’s very far from what I was thinking actually. It was specifically the hero v hero bit where confusing kids entirely is part of it but we also had a raft of questions here in adult chat on dodgy motivations. It’s an avenue I think best avoided when you don’t really need to do it to make an exciting product.

Also the PG13 thing, it’s been a long held rant from me. Every film that isn’t directly a kids only movie (usually animation) gets at least that rating. The rather harmless fantasy adventure of Thor gets it and so do things like The Hunger Games, ones with light use of the word ‘fuck’ or even some horror movies that skip the gore. It has become next to meaningless so the only studio goal is to avoid an R.


#1861

Unless an R is what they’re going for, so that their raunchy comedy or horror movie has credibility as such.

That’s two different things though. One is whether kids can deal with the complexity of “good” people have disagreements that are big enough to cause conflict, and the other is the writer’s ability to make it make sense.

Even if ‘Civil War’ and ‘BvS’ were more consistently plotted, so that even us argumentative geeks agreed that they made sense, the kids would still find it difficult to understand and prefer that a different story was being told?


#1862

Maybe because the youth is more receptible to that stuff, but let’s not forget Deadpool, Logan or Watchmen, who swept the box office. Well, in case of Watchmen, not so much.
On the other hand, who is target audience, take Black Panther, as it is aimed primarely and it is, a movie made mostly for black audience, who are largley responsible for its success.
I’d add, in terms of rating, I still prefer superhero movies with PG-13, even though I am 28.